I have a 22 Club patch laying on my vest, so you can see color, size, shape, etc…Today 22 Veterans will commit suicide, what will you have done to help save them? We are on a push for Memorial Day Weekend. We are hoping 100 Clubs, Groups, or Associations that ride will buy just 10 patches. That is only $100.00, $10.00 a patch. This will institute a truly remarkable non for profit organization. If you don’t ride, but want to donate, visit our websitewww.22clubcomo.org or please share this link to reach as many riders as we can. Be a part of the solution, help make a difference today!
Began this process in 2014 with the concept of what was to be achieved and for what purpose.
Registered with the State of Missouri on 1/6/2015.
Still have not been able to register as a non-profit with the IRS due to a lack of funding.
Have gained the assistance of Washington University School of Law, in St. Louis, MO to handle to legal structuring of the organization, the IRS Paperwork, etc thus saving the 22 Club a considerable amount of money.
Redesigned the website and incorporated a donations option through PayPal on a secured page.
Held an organizational meeting, developed a logo, created the 22 Club Facebook Page and Facebook Group.
E-Therapy is an anonymous program we are extremely excited about as it is a process where those needing treatment for PTSD can obtain that treatment regardless of veteran status anonymously. This program is quite extensive, and the development has been extremely labor intensive. Visa and Mastercard have each committed to be a part of this program with the following terms, the first 2 digits of the 16-digit account number would be 22, the card can only be processed through approved vendors. This will ensure that only counselors who are qualified to treat PTSD are approved vendors. Since the cards are linked to 22 Club of Columbia and not to anyone’s name, there is no connection between person and service provider. Families can donate money to that card. Churches can buy cards to give out to those in need. Those concerned with job advancement or being placed upon a government watch list can receive the needed help without anyone aware of their actions.
Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy in Veteran’s rehabilitation
Testimonial from a veteran’s equine program: “From a clinical view, the CHAPS program met and exceeded expectations. All of the participants’ symptoms were reduced as a result of the program, but what was also evident was the accelerated rate at which this occurred. My colleague Dr. Benson and I were more than satisfied.” –Dr. Rusty Reynolds, VA Medical Center psychologist with the Children, Horses and Adults in Partnership (CHAPS) Equine-Assisted Therapy program; Sheridan, Wyoming
The 22 Club believes that offering legitimate job skills training and employment opportunities that are in line with the recovery and treatment plans the veterans may be receiving, that we will be able to train veterans and through that training we will be able to rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned homes in an effort to provide suitable housing to the homeless.
This will accomplish multiple benefits for the communities in which this program is established in.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course … except, perhaps, when he’s also your therapist.
“Interaction with an animal just makes you feel more relaxed,” said Joe Grimard, a recreational therapist at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass. “You’re connecting with an animal, a living thing and that’s all you’re focused on. You’re no longer focusing on yourself, or your problems.”
Each week, Grimard drives four to six Veterans out to nearby Strongwater Farm, where they get to ride horses for free. Family members of Veterans are also welcome.
“These guys are in the 90-day treatment program at our domiciliary,” said Grimard, a Navy Veteran. “So it’s good for them to get away from the hospital now and then and do something different.
“It’s my job to get these guys back out into the community, doing healthy things,” he added. “They need to know they have alternatives to the lifestyles that landed them in trouble before.”
Grimard said the whole idea is to provide Veterans with relaxing, positive experiences.
“A lot of these guys have anxiety,” he said. “They have traumatic memories, so we want them creating new, pleasant memories to replace the not-so-pleasant ones. This is a peaceful place. When I bring them out here, I don’t tell them I’m taking them to therapy. I just tell them, ‘I’m bringing you out here so you can enjoy life a little.’
“Once they get around a horse, they start to loosen up,” he continued. “You can see them begin to relax. You can see their self-esteem and their confidence building. Gradually you can see them becoming the person they were before all that stuff happened to them.”
Grimard said he’s now seeing an increasing number of younger Veterans — those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — expressing an interest in visiting the horse farm.
“They’re very physical, very enthusiastic,” he said. “They just jump right on the horse without a second thought. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with posttraumatic stress, addiction or family problems, coming out here is just a fun, cool thing to do.
I feel like I have a friendship with the staff here at the Bedford VA. Without them, I would have been dead years ago.
— Larry Opitz
“Some of the guys, they’ll come out with a bag of apples,” Grimard said. “They want to feed the horses, so a staff member teaches them how to feed an apple to a horse without losing any fingers. And if they don’t want to ride, they can sit in the sun, or talk to the staff out here. The staff is really friendly. They’ll teach you how to approach your horse, how to brush your horse down, where to stand and where not to stand when you’re near the horse.” (Helpful Hint: never stand behind a horse. Just don’t.)
“Our staff is very accommodating, very low key, very down to earth,” said Patti Lessard, program director at the non-profit, 800-acre horse farm. “We provide the environment and the four-legged partners and the Veterans take it from there. They become one with the animal they’re working with, so in a sense the horse becomes the therapist. All you’re thinking about is grooming your horse, riding your horse, building a relationship with that horse.
“You’re very engaged,” she added, “and you become very clear. The horse is your new buddy, your new partner, another member of your support system. Horses are intelligent, intuitive animals; they have a sixth sense. They can read where you’re at.”
Air Force Veteran Theresa Mickelwait couldn’t agree more.
“Horses, like people, are sentient beings,” Mickelwait noted. “Each one is different; each one has its own personality. The first time we went out to the farm I talked to a horse named Big Red. He was very friendly, but he had no problem invading your body space. He liked to go into your pockets to search for snacks. He was like a hyperactive little kid. He was a handful, but I liked him.”
Mickelwait recently completed her treatment program at the Bedford VA and will soon be working full-time and living in her own apartment in Boston. Recently, she won a scholarship that will enable her to take a writing course at the University of Boston.
The Air Force Veteran said her experience at Strongwater Farm was a memorable step on her road to recovery.
“Riding was the best part for me,” she observed. “I like to ride. I find it relaxing, because I’m focused on my horse. It’s an ‘in-the-moment’ sort of thing. You’re doing nothing but being with that animal.”
“Sometimes I won’t even ride,” said Army Veteran Larry Opitz, another recent graduate of the Bedford VA’s residential treatment program. “Sometimes I just like walking around the barns, or walking through the pastures. It gets you away from everybody. You can do a little soul searching.”
I grew up raising horses, so I truly understand and appreciate the impact this program has on our Veterans.
— Christine Croteau, Hospital Director, Bedford VA Medical Center
Opitz said he wasn’t quite sure what to expect on his very first visit to the horse farm. But he soon found out.
“When I went up there, all my anxiety was gone,” he said. “It’s dead quiet, except every now and then you can hear a horse whinny. They’ll whinny when someone’s grooming them, because they love it when you groom them. I’d love it too, if someone was scratching my back.”
Opitz said he still goes out to Strongwater Farm every Wednesday to help out. He said he wants other Veterans recovering at the Bedford VA to experience the same sense of peace he feels when he’s grooming his favorite horse (a big Belgian Quarter Cross named Kris), or walking through a quiet pasture, or simply sitting in the sun, watching other Veterans ride their horses.
“It’s about getting these guys back out into life,” he said. “A lot of these guys haven’t been on a horse…never. But now they tell me they can’t wait to go back. They’re like a bunch of school kids.”
In an effort to pay it forward, Opitz said he hopes to somehow raise the $500,000 Strongwater Farm needs to build a much needed indoor riding arena.
“That way the Veterans can come here year-round, even when it’s raining,” he said.
For more information on how VA is helping Veterans with PTSD, visit www.ptsd.va.gov
– See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/newsfeatures/2014/september/reining-in-ptsd-with-equestrian-therapy.asp#sthash.6QpbrGPO.dpuf